2b) Place

2) Planting & Watering 

Location, location location!

Pick your place! Pick your Politics!

Choosing a Location: Where you decide to set up a community is very important, often times your physical location dictates the rules and local laws you must abide by. Here we break down location in its simplest form:

The West aka ‘Developed’ Countries

Advantages: Western system of property ownership (privately owned company), legal rights and less corruption compared to other countries.  Other advantages include ease of access to technological, environmental and human resources. Developed countries will have a greater number of available options for distribution and manufacture as well as a diverse labor force. Developed countries also have more disposable income and thus will be more likely to spend their money at your business.

Disadvantages: Much more bureaucratic especially with regards to community living laws, zoning laws, building codes and public health and safety.  There will be more competition and a greater number of choices for consumers as well. This means you have to commit to being one of the best of the best if you want to survive as a business in the developed world.

Developing Countries

Advantages: Less rules to abide by, leaving more room for freedom to experiment.  In some developing nations there is actually greater freedom to build a community because there are no intricate bureaucratic laws developed by a multitude of government agencies for “public health and safety”.

In the documentary, “Garbage Warrior” an American eco-builder is able to construct eco-friendly houses made of glass with great ease in Bangladesh. In his home state of New Mexico he had to go through a legislative nightmare to have legal permission to do the same in America.

Disadvantages. 
Lack of legal ownership rights and rule of law. If you live in an under developed region in the world then you don’t have to worry about government regulations as much as corruption and criminality. Because every region is different we cannot recommend concrete steps. However, if your community can be benefitial to the surrounding region in some way, then you have natural allies in your fight to establish your community.

Corruption tends to be more of a problem in so called “Developing Countries”. Simply to exist as a Social Enterprise or Intentional Community in many countries involves payoffs and bribes. Whilst we cannot go into the details of each country, our general principle is that it is better to “go through the system” and try to change it for the better than to simply pay people off. For eventually, bribery causes complications.

We understand though, that sometimes there is no choice; but we would still say that in an era of phone cameras and digital recorders it is better to record bribes being paid and then if possible use that as evidence to ensure that the offending bureaucrat is punished. If you know a bureaucrat is corrupt record the bribe being paid and then report that person. If you edit the video well you can even do so anonymously if you fear retribution!

Activist Enterprise in ‘corrupt’ countries: By exposing corruption you will be doing a great patriotic duty for your country because according to Transparency International corruption is deeply destructive to almost every aspect of a country’s social and economic fabric. It acts as a break on development because community security is purely dependent on bribes being paid.

Especially in the morally ‘grey’ regions of the world, you have the ability to recognize what is right and what is wrong and you act on what is right. By operating an ethical business, it allows your business to always be transparent and honest.

Why I chose the United States of America!

The US is a strange place. It is why I like living here! America is one of the only cultures that gives people a legal right to pursue ‘happiness’. But it is also the puritanical Christian spawn of the Maylfower!
 
America is the ultimate proof of quantum physics! It simultaneously exists in parallel states with it’s emphasis on the individual that is so different from other cultures. Burning Man and SF Gay Pride are the ultimate embodiments of America. And so is Donald Trump! America pursues pleasure and punishment with the same gusto; people can go from Christ to crystal meth and back again!
 
Out of the 36 countries I’ve visited or lived in, I’ve never been so entertained as being here. Traveling around in the world, I could see the effect this country had on the planet, both for good and ill. As sociology major, I just had to live in the ‘belly of the beast’!
 
With it’s belief in the power of the individual, I found fertile ground for quirky ideas like Ethical Eropreneur. When I lived in Europe  my friends and lovers did not ‘dream’ about making a difference in the same way that people do here. They just lived comfortable European lives. I loved my life there but I wanted more.
 
This is why I now live in the land of dreams and nightmares! It drives me crazy but I love living here! Mojo Hedonisia Community Director

Making sustainable, ecological living more legal

The Hawaii Sustainable Community Alliance (HSCA) is working toward amending current laws to allow more eco-friendly practices, communities and buildings.

HISTORY AND GOALS

HSCA’s goal is having an ordinance passed that permits the use of owner ingenuity and preferences in the creation of affordable, owner-built, low-impact housing on agricultural land,  suitable for The Big Island’s varied tropical locations, lifestyles and economy.

Our first resolution, the Sustainable Habitat Building Code Resolution, was passed last

year. It requested the Department of Public Works (DPW) to establish minimum requirements for owners and builders of rural dwellings on agricultural parcels, through waiver or exemption from existing codes.

This will allow the use of substitute materials, procedures and alternatives, to the extent that a reasonable degree of health and safety is provided.

We currently have a draft Sustainable Building Code under review by the DPW.

The Department of Public Works has not made much progress on this topic yet. We are hoping to evoke more action.

Now, we are submitting a new resolution to urge the State of Hawaii to enact legislation to establish Sustainable Living Research Sites on smaller agricultural land parcels. This is a wider scope than just building materials and codes.

Urban Micro-Community: The arrangement can be either short term or long term with long term renters sharing the lease or short term eco-tourists who visit and pay night rates or receive a discount for volunteer work. All this would depend on the goals of the person who is setting the intention for the micro-community and whose name is on the rental lease!

Advantages: If we have a minority share you would have continual online support and we would try to visit at least once every two years for onsite support. In addition, as stakeholders, we would be more involved in the success of your enterprise. You would be able to share the joy, pain and responsibility with others who support your vision. You would also receive promotion and support as a Hedonisia branded community enterprise. If we do not have a share then we would be able to provide onsite support when we are there.
Disadvantages: You are not 100% owner so you would not be able to do everything you want! However, depending on your business skills and experience that could be a good thing!


  • Reduced public housing shortages
  • Increased local food production and consumption
  • Natural and organic farming
  • Diversification of sources of food and energy production
  • Meets the need for affordable housing
  • Allows home builders more freedom and creativity
  • Allows for the use of local building materials
  • Encourages ecological practices, like composting toilets, greywater systems
  • Brings into compliance many thousands of existing homes not currently permitted
  • Encourages community building in neighborhoods where people are living in unpermitted homes and are afraid of being reported by neighbors
  • Creates ways for people to make their own homes more safe, without too many unworkable building codes

DETAILS ON THE SUSTAINABLE LIVING RESEARCH SITES Resolution

This resolution states:

There are many citizens and organizations of Hawaii willing and able to develop, test, and implement a wide range of innovative methods that increase the productivity, health, and sustainability of Hawaii’s economy, ecosystems, people, and culture.

Truly sustainable living frequently involves new and innovative methods, technologies, and holistic systems that:

  • conserve, harvest, and produce energy;
  • increase net-negative CO2 output (forests versus fires);
  • conserve and harvest fresh water;
  • conserve and improve topsoil without expensive or toxic inputs;
  • increase local food quality and security using organic methods and local materials;
  • increase biodiversity and protect wildlife;
  • provide onsite waste treatment and recycling with minimal or zero air and surface or groundwater pollution;
  • increase the supply of affordable housing by using on-site timber and reusing or recycling discarded/waste lumber, windows, plumbing supplies, and other manufactured goods;
  • reduce the need for and use of imports from distant places while increasing the use and employment of local materials, labor, skills, and products;
  • enrich neighborhood educational, vocational, and cultural opportunities for all ages while enhancing their experience of place and community;
  • reduce the need for expensive public infrastructure and services;
  • stimulate private investments in sustainable development.

These methods for sustainable living frequently require activities and structures that are not permitted on lands designated ‘agricultural’ under state law.


TALKING POINTS IN DETAIL:

1. Need for Affordable Housing There are growing numbers of people on the county affordable housing list. This proposal would help allow people to help themselves to provide their own adaptable and affordable housing. We don’t want to add any more people to the housing subsidy programs.These regulations would facilitate the availability of affordable, owner-built homes which are essential to the continued health and welfare of residents and rural communities.

2. Range of Alternatives We believe that one size does not fit all, regarding building codes and the diversity of population. This county would be better served with a range of alternatives to existing regulations.

3. We Want an Ordinance It is the objective of the Hawaii Sustainable Community Alliance to follow up the attached resolution with a bill, which would become law.

4. More Money for the County Hawaii County income from taxes would increase by issuing permits for many houses that would not qualify otherwise.  An optional code would satisfy the needs of residents who only can afford to build without a permit from the existing system of regulation.

5. Freedom to Oversee One’s Own Plumbing and Electric Currently, owner builders are not legally allowed to do plumbing or electrical work in their own homes. This is not the case in many other states, where owner-builders can do their own work, including electrical and plumbing work, so long as it passes inspection. Most people will not do their own, in practice. The impact on existing trades and professions would be relatively small—those who want and can afford would still mostly use a professional. Existing trade unions can co-exist with neighborly barter economies.

6. Public Recognition and Accountability This proposal includes a system of public record, keeping of owner-builders who state they are building under an alternate code, or even via experimental method. Many people live in unpermitted houses, and would like to find a way to be legal. They wouldn’t have to hide anymore, and would be able to choose to build in alternative ways—and the public would be informed of which houses are built this way.

7. Honor Diversity We are an island of incredible climate and cultural diversity, and should not make cultures illegitimate that adapt to the various microclimate and microcultural situations which exist.

8. Improve Existing Housing This would improve the quality of existing substandard housing by providing a system for overseeing the successful execution of alternative and sustainable design and building techniques. This means healthy agricultural practices, and improving compliance with minimum Hawaii State Department of Health regulations.

9. No Zoning Changes This is not expected to alter existing zoning ordinances.

10. Promote Sustainable Practices We advocate in moving toward educating and supporting ecological methods. The job of civil servants (the County of Hawaii) is to provide resources of information, education and support to those who want to learn to shelter themselves safely in a variety of ways. This is in contrast to enforcing one specific set of rules or codes. They may do this directly (county staff) and/or by a referral program to consultants, designers or others.

11.  Save on Cost of Transportation  Rural areas of the Hawaiian Islands are sometimes remote and often serviced by substandard roads, resulting in extra cost in transporting building materials from commercial centers.

12. Build a Community The benefits for those who need these alternatives would be large and more than just economic. They would facilitate growth and self esteem, the idea that ‘I can do it,’ and community-building through work parties, sharing neighborhood skills, and enabling more community living.

13. Using Local Materials is Ecological In rural areas of Hawaii, there are many locally available, underutilized, renewable building materials, such as bamboo, tropical hardwood, and other wood species. The use of locally-available and minimally-processed building materials can reduce overall construction costs and result in a smaller ecological footprint. According to the Hawaii County Integrated Resource and Solid Waste Management Plan, lumber accounts for 10 percent or more of materials disposed of in Hawaii County’s landfills.

14. We Don’t Need to Build Like the Mainland The Hawaiian Islands are blessed with a mild climate that can obviate the need for insulation, artificial heating and cooling, and associated construction materials.

15. Protect Natural Resources In the spirit of the newly-passed Charter Amendment 2010. Prop. Six, this resolution supports the ideal of conserving and protecting Hawaii’s natural and cultural resources.

16. Expand Food Production The first goal of the County of Hawaii Agriculture Development Plan is to expand Hawaii Island food production so that 30 percent of its residents’ demand for food can be supplied by local producers by 2020.

17. Encourage Rural Self-Sufficiency Establishment and occupation of owner-built, sustainable habitats on agricultural land increases food production on that land, contributing to island-wide food-sufficiency goals.

18. Others Have Done This Alternative, limited-density rural dwelling building code ordinances have been adopted in many other jurisdictions of the United States over the last three decades.

Miscellaneous Material:

COOPERATION OVER COMPETITION: Everyone Working Together for a Better World

Traditionally in business, the “competition” is seen as a negative. But when you are all trying to help the world, there is no competition only allies.

As a matter of fact, the more fringe (unique? non-conventional?) your idea is, the more helpful it is to have others to work alongside you.

Once you have an idea for a product or service for
your social enterprise, you may then decide upon your leadership model.

Traditionally in the male dominated business world, the “competition” is seen as a negative. That is what males do in most animal and human societies; they ‘fight’ the competition for ‘territory’, customers and resources!  (perhaps something about negative stereotypes of how women are in business- cut-throat- competitive etc.- and how women can be supportive- collaborative etc. ) Women simply bring a more collaborative business approach that is less ruthless than men who are often vying to be the ‘king of the hill’ the silver-back male who has it all.

However, when you are all trying to help the world there is no competition, only allies. As a matter of fact, the more ‘activist’ your idea is, the more helpful it is to have others to work alongside you especially when working with (or agitating against!), the government!

Once you have an idea for a product or service for your feminist enterprise, you may then decide upon your leadership model.

Sole Proprietorship provides AUTONOMY Being Your Own Boss. However, the responsibilities are also on your shoulders.  There are Benefits and Drawbacks to Running Your Own Business, partnership, non-profit or other feminist enterprise  models.

Decide which form of feminist employment you feel would be most effective and well suited to you.

  1. Nonprofit Enterprise: An organization that uses commercial methods to achieve surplus revenues that allows it to accomplish its goals.
  2. Principled Professional: Some people were just not cut out for business! We understand that! So you might end up choosing a profession that also satisfies your need to make a difference such as EPA inspector, forest ranger or feminist lawyer. The key aspect of our teaching is that you make a living from creating the change you want to see in the world. Whether you do that by business, being a politician or having a cause related profession is up to you! In fact, you can even use your profession as a training so that at some point in the future, you can set up a feminist enterprise  with ‘insider knowledge’!
  3. Ethical Erotic Entrepreneur: A business that works with human sexuality to achieve a more liberal, therapeutic and progressive approach to sex in the modern world.
  4. Feminist Enterprise: An organization that uses commercial methods, products or services to actively promote social or environmental change through the local, national or international political process, grassroots activists? active citizens?)